BP profit surges as oil major leaves downturn behind

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BP reported profits in 2017 of $6.2 billion, compared to $2.6 billion the previous year.

In exploration, BP said that it had its most successful year since 2004, with around 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent (boe) resources discovered.

After years of spending cuts, BP should be able to generate profits in 2018 at an oil price of $50 a barrel, Chief Financial Officer Brian Gilvary told Reuters.

BP released fourth quarter and full-year results on Tuesday, noting that 2017 was one of the strongest years in BP's recent history.

BP's upstream production, excluding the company's share of Rosneft production-in which BP holds 20 percent-increased by 12 percent on the year in 2017-the highest since 2010, thanks to seven new oil and gas projects.

Dividend per share remains at 10 cents. "We enter the second year of our five-year plan with real momentum, increasingly confident that we can continue to deliver growth". The company a year ago announced six discoveries, for a cumulative total of 1 billion barrels of oil equivalent, its largest since 2004.

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As it emerges from the consequences of Deepwater Horizon, where an oil spill killed 11 people, while also facing the global downturn in prices, BP has struggled to maintain its reputation. The company will launch another 5 projects this year, including Egypt, Azerbaijan and the British North Sea, which will help boost its yield by 800,000 barrels per day by 2020.

That marked a jump from $400m a year earlier and topped a third-quarter profit of $1.9bn.

Downstream earnings were very strong, with an underlying replacement cost profit of $7.0 billion, 24 percent higher than 2016.

Gearing, the ratio between debt and BP's market value, rose to 27.4% at the end of 2017 from 26.8% at the end of September.

He did not specify how much BP plans to invest in the United States.